Children's Ministry Newsletter September 2014
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    Issue #66, September 2014    
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Welcome back everyone! I do hope you managed to find some time to have a break over the summer among the holiday clubs and camps that fill up the holidays. This time of year feel like the right time for children's workers to be saying 'Happy New Year!' as everything that was on hold during the summer recommences, and we worry if the families we haven't seen since July are all going to come back. Thank you for committing to another year of late night cutting-out and rummaging in the back of church cupboards, looking for resources that someone has helpfully moved for you. What you do is so important in making our churches places where children's faith can grow and be nurtured.

A few notices to keep you up to date with: first, the year-long academy course is filling up nicely. If you are thinking about joining us, I would suggest you get your form in quickly to secure your place. It's a really good course that will broaden the horizons of your ministry and allow you to meet others who work with children. You'll learn so much from one another, as well as the course material. And we don't even charge! Here's the booking form and the course details.

Secondly, I want to mention Messy Church to you. Please remember that, through our partnership with Messy Church, we have loads of resources available if you would like to launch one. To access it all, just get in touch with me.


Help For You!

If you're in the Kensington area, there is a new Academy Basics course at St Andrew's Fulham Fields. The course is for those who have just started children's work or feel they need a refresher of the basics. If you've never had any help or training in children's work before, then this is for you! The course is on 4 October, 1 November, 6 December and 10 January (10.30am start). For more information on all Academy Basics courses, see the 'Diary dates' section below.

For a great collection of training, information, resources and teaching, don't forget the Hand in Hand Conference on 6 to 8 February 2015. Get more details and book here.


That Works

A little bit of silence... would that possible in your children's groups? It's easy to think that it'd never work – children are noisy, boisterous, giggly, physical and full of energy! However, a short time of quiet can be a great addition to your sessions, and help children connect with God in new and powerful ways. Here are some ideas:

• Use music. Now this seems a bit counter-intuitive when we're talking about quiet, but reflective instrumental music is a great tool to help children calm down and focus on God. Play the music and encourage children to talk to God in their heads.
• Create silent spaces. Help each child create their own retreat space from blankets, tables, chairs... whatever you have lying around that you can (safely!) use to build individual spaces. Give children the chance to spend some time alone with God in their space.
• Just lie down! Ask children to find a space where they feel comfortable (you might want to provide cushions or blankets), then encourage them to listen to God. Inevitably, there will be some initial silliness, but as they get used to it, children will engage more and more.


Planning Ahead: Christmas

OK, so Christmas is a long way off - there are still 16 Sunday's till Christmas Day. But, it's such a great mission opportunity that it won't hurt to start thinking about your plans now! In its next issue, Premier Childrenswork explores how to make best use of a time when people are more likely to come to church (subscribe here). Until then, here are some questions to think about when you plan your seasonal programme:

• Who are you hoping will come to your services, parties and events?
Choosing the right events for the people you're hoping to attract is vital. If you're hoping to reach out beyond your current church family, what's the best fit? A Christingle service? A children's party? A family event?
• How will you get the message out to those people?
You might want to think about leaflets, visits to local primary schools (if you have a good relationship with them) or asking the children in your groups to invite your friends.
• How can you best celebrate Jesus' birth as a community?
Christmas is an ideal time for children to meet other members of the church. Relationships with adults other than parents/carers are vital in faith formation. How can you facilitate this (while adhering to your church's child protection policy)?

(If you're thinking about Halloween first, don't forget you can get a free resource pack from Scripture Union.)


Where is
the Person
of God?

In August, Jonathan Brooks knew that the Person of God was on holiday in Brighton. He now gets to drink his tea from a lovely mug (other hot beverages are available).

This month, the Person of God has gone all sporty. Where are they? 


Resources to Try

A new Great Big God CD (the fifth in the series) is out at the end of the month. If Vineyard Kids' praise is your style, then you'll want to to get your hands on this! You can pre-order on Eden, or go to your local Christian book shop.

For a different pace, you could try Bake Through the Bible from the Good Book Company. Read and talk about a Bible story, then try out a related recipe! A review is here. Another title, Play Through the Bible, is out soon.

Are your children are crazy for loom bands? Premier Childrenswork has some excellent loom-band prayer activities – see here and here.



Ministry Matters

More blog posts! Stuff to get you thinking...

You're amazing. Really you are.

Pete Sheath and Tim Broadbent think through the value of failure in different ways.

In case you missed it, here's Jessica McLeod's inspirational post on mentoring.
Diary dates

Academy Basics
Kensal Rise (11 and 18 October)
Fulham (first Saturday in October, November, December and January).
Contact Alex Taylor to book a place.

Supporting spiritual life in schools
Prayer Spaces in Schools is holding a development day in London on 3 October. This is a great opportunity to explore ways to support spiritual development through prayer spaces. For more information, click here.

Useful links

Childrenswork Magazine – a bimonthly magazine packed with articles, resources and news for children's workers everywhere.

Diocese of London Children's Ministry – for all the latest on what's happening in children's work in the diocese.

Going for Growth – the Church of England's website for children's and youth work.


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